Did you know that August 12th was National Vinyl Record Day? It seems that every music store, festival, and concert you go to, there are bands that offer merchandising materials like CDs, T-shirts, and vinyl records. Yes, you read correctly — vinyl records!
Vinyl is back and is enjoying great popularity, despite the availability of streaming music. After several decades of sales decline due to the CD boom in the ’80s, vinyl is now very trendy, and major labels have started to produce vinyl records again. Vinyl sales grew by double digits in 2018, with almost 10 million records taking a spin on the turntable.
The sustainability record of vinyl and PVC
Worldwide, only a handful of companies are producing vinyl records, most of which have been in the industry for decades. Through the years, the production process of vinyl records hasn’t changed much.
Producing a vinyl record requires polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and the base raw materials are salt and oil. The production process itself is not particularly eco-friendly as it involves toxic acids and consumes a lot of energy for steaming and cooling. Recycling of PVC is also an issue, as it takes at least 100 years to completely decompose.
Putting the record straight
Many parties are involved in the production of vinyl records: artists, record labels, press plants, distributors, record stores, and consumers. Consumers are demanding more sustainable products, and artists are always the lead vocalists when it comes to saving the planet. So how can manufacturers and distributors get on the same wavelength?
Sustainable design – Is it possible to design products with more sustainable materials while maintaining the look, feel, and sound of vinyl? Green Vinyl Records, a collaboration of eight Dutch companies, has developed an environmentally friendly production process for vinyl records. The company replaces the plastics that comprise vinyl with eco-friendly materials that maintain the familiar vinyl feel, which is key in that process. The company also claims that the process achieves energy savings of over 60%, offers faster manufacturing, and produces less waste.
Sustainable manufacturing – Canada-based Viryl Technologies has invested in a new production technology that decreases the waste in record production. It uses sensors to track the process from start to finish, using an advanced workflow to and a user-friendly interface to monitor factors like temperature control. In addition, press plants like Deepgrooves in the Netherlands are testing new eco-friendly press processes that use sustainable electricity and a granular calcium base to press records. The company uses a circular production process that enables the reuse of “organic garbage“ as biomass to produce electricity.
Sustainable logistics – In a globally connected world, choosing local partners could reduce our CO2 emissions by optimizing the supply chain, enabling shorter shipping distances, less packaging, better end-to-end production, and distribution.
At SAP, we’re seizing this opportunity ourselves. We’re also helping our customers do the same with supply chain and logistics software that helps companies run better. For more information, visit SAP Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
To learn more on how to drive sustainable supply chain processes, download the IDC report “Leveraging Your Intelligent Digital Supply Chain.”